DIY Holiday Gift Guide
Hi all!! We have a guest post from Liz today on the blog! She volunteered to write a DIY Gift Guide for those of you who like to make homemade gifts!!
One of my favorite ways of infusing creativity into the holidays is making thoughtful gifts at home for family and friends. This is a fun way to get crafty and utilize products we already have at home while being environmentally conscious. It can also be very budget friendly as you can buy items in bulk and use them for all your gift making! Below, I’m sharing some of my favorite DIY gift ideas. If you have any others to add, feel free to share as well. I’d love to hear!
This one is super classic and for good reason – it’s always a hit! This would work best for commemorating an event such as a big milestone or for a best friend or partner. It could also work if you’re feeling sentimental and just want to celebrate someone. You can find a scrapbook at your local Michael’s or order one on Amazon and print out all your favorite photos of you and the recipient. I like to add lots of color, stickers, text and image cutouts, maybe some ribbon – a little bit of texture always spices it up. Have fun with it!
Essential Oils Skincare
I love making skincare at home because you know exactly what’s going into it! As you can see, I experimented with recipes here for various uses and recipients. I’ve made the beard oil several times and it is always a winner! Avocado oil stimulates hair growth and almond oil is nourishing and strengthening. I used those two combined with jojoba oil, but you can also add some apricot oil which is great for scalp health. Personally, I love the setting spray because it works as a toner too and it smells great. You can also swap out the essential oils here for copaiba, lavender or cedarwood which are all great for skin.
1 ¼ oz jojoba oil (or sub ¼ oz apricot)
½ oz avocado oil
¼ oz almond oil
*whichever essential oils you desire or you think the recipient would enjoy* (I added 5 drops lavender, 4 frankincense, 3 tea tree)
Makeup setting spray/ toner
2 oz distilled water
½ tablespoon vegetable glycerine
6 drops frankincense (*best for normal skin)
*sub tea tree for oily or myrrh for dry skin
One of my personal favorites to make are herbal teas. For these recipes, you can either find a local tea shop or apothecary which I always recommend exploring, or you can order wholesale from a high quality vendor such as Mountain Rose Herbs. Many of the ingredients can be found at a local grocery store but some of the more specialty herbs such as damiana which is an amazing aphrodisiac will need to be special ordered. I’ve included two of my tea recipes below:
12 cardamom pods
1/2 t red peppercorns
1/2 t black peppercorns
1 T fennel seeds (can also sub star anise)
1/2 t coriander seeds
1/2 t whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick (4inch)
3 T chopped candied ginger
1/2 cup loose black tea (can also sub rooibos to make decaf)
Damiana Spice Tea
1 part damiana leaf
1 part rose petals
1/2 part spearmint leaf
¼ each: cinnamon chips, licorice root, ginger root, whole cloves
Feel free to experiment with these and if you don’t have an ingredient on hand, you can either find a substitute or omit that ingredient. The chai is great for any tea lover – I gifted it to an ex partner’s mom one time and she loved it. The damiana spice would be sweet for anyone who could use a little extra love in their life (couldn’t we all?!). If you try them out, I’d love to hear how they turned out for you!
Homemade pepper jelly or marmalade
My mom got me onto spice at a young age and has been making homemade pepper jelly ever since I can remember. It has always been one of my favorite condiments – I eat it on sandwiches, eggs, quesadillas, cheese and crackers, anything really. Recently, one of my friends sent these two jars to me (below) and I thought it was such a sweet and thoughtful gift! If you don’t like spice, you can make fruit preserves or a jam instead. I’ll include the recipe that my mom used to start below which is originally from Bobby Flay’s cookbook:
3 medium red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
6 jalapeños, minced
4 cups sugar (my mom would cut by as much as ½)
1¼ cups red wine vinegar
¾ cup liquid fruit pectin
1. In a heavy 2-quart saucepan over high heat, combine the peppers, jalapeños, sugar, and vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Be careful not to let the mixture boil over.
2. Turn off the heat and add the pectin, mixing well. Turn the heat on again to high and cook until the mixture comes back to a boil. Pour into sterilized jars and seal according to the manufacturer’s directions. May also be refrigerated, covered, for up to 6 months in a nonreactive bowl or jar.
Personalized gift box
This can be such a fun gift if you have a theme in mind that the recipient loves or if you’re giving it to a romantic partner that can be a theme in itself! For example, I might give a partner some massage oils, chocolates, an “IOU” of sorts (use your imagination), any little knick knacks that remind you of them, or some beard oil (see above). Games or intimacy cards are a fun way of creating competition and getting to know your partner a bit more. You can make these or find several options online. Let’s say your partner loves the outdoors – you could make that your theme. Going off that idea, I might throw in a new beanie or a headlamp, cozy socks, and an “IOU” to bring you on a camping getaway (especially if this is a bit out of your comfort zone!). The idea of bringing you along for that experience might be enough of a gift on its own!
These are so fun to make! Many of the ingredients you’ll likely have around the house already and are fairly cheap. The citric acid is probably the only ingredient you may have to order. Linking here the recipe that I used. We used a bit of food coloring, essential oils and dried flowers to decorate the tops. The yellow ones were lemon and copaiba and the purple was simply lavender. This is a great gift for anyone who especially loves baths but also great when you aren’t sure what to get someone.